The fun involved with getting on a boat and participating in other water related recreational activities often causes us to forget that boats are motor vehicles too, and they have the same risks as the operation of car driven on the road. Recently in Mont Belvieu, which is just east of Houston, three men lost their lives while they were aboard a fishing boat when an intoxicated individual crashed a ski boat into them. Tragic incidents like this are a sobering reminder of the hidden dangers that exist as more people go on vacation now that summer is here.
Many of the laws regulating the operation of boats and other vessels that travel on the water are found in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code. While the Parks and Wildlife Code contain many rules for boats that are similar to the operation of motor vehicles on the road, such as speed limits or the prohibition of reckless driving, there are a few regulations that are unique to operation of a boat such as:
• The operator of a boat involved in a collision has a duty to provide assistance to victims to prevent or minimize additional harm; and
• The operator must provide a full report when an incident results in an injury or death.
Furthermore, boats have mechanical issues just as cars do. Sometimes the cause of a collision is not only the negligence of the operator, but a defect in the boat. In such cases, it is imperative that the boat is inspected as soon as possible after an incident. You need a team of lawyers that not only knows what to look for, but has the resources to retain the best experts to investigate the incident and the ability to take on the lawyers hired by the boat manufacturers.